Could Birmingham's report over an 'arrogant' referee lead to a change in approach from officials?

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark has said the club will report referee James Linington, alleging he 'mocked' club captain Paul Robinson.


From an outsider's point of view it looked as if Birmingham City's 3-3 draw with Burnley on Wednesday was an enthralling, end-to-end game. Three times The Blues came from a goal down to equalise with Burnley.

However after the game Lee Clark was furious with the refereeing and the attitude of the officials. Burnley were also disappointed with the manner of Federico Macheda's last minute equaliser. All in all the referee's match report will surely be looked through and these matters will be reviewed.

Burnley claimed that there had been a foul in the build-up to the last goal of the game and that Macheda on loan from Manchester United had handled the ball.

Clark's claims that Linington had mocked his player grabbed the headlines despite the six-goal thriller. Speaking after the match Clark told BBC Radio 5 live "The referee rubbed my captain's nose in the fact that we were losing the game. That is unacceptable behaviour from an official and I will be wanting to take it further. He mocked him."

"Referees will make errors, I accept that, but I'm more concerned with the way the referee spoke to my captain when he booked him," said Clark. "We felt there was a foul when Burnley scored their second. When Paul Robinson protested, the referee mocked him about the scoreline."

"There was a lot of arrogance from the officials. I was furious and I lost my temper. I am not questioning his performance, but he knows what he said and it is not acceptable in any walk of life."

It is unclear as to what exactly James Linington said to Paul Robinson but it has incensed Lee Clark and this won't be the end of the matter. If it comes out that the referee has mocked the Birmingham captain he would surely be dropped for a period of time, or could even be sacked.

In the past clubs and players have accused referees of being 'too friendly' with certain players and calling them by their nickname's etc.

This is at the other end of the scale however and follows from the Clattenburg-Lallana case earlier this season.

At the end of 2013 Southampton officially complained about Mark Clattenburg after he was accused of making an insulting remark to Adam Lallana. Saints claimed the ref had told Lallana: "You are very different now, since you've played for England." He was eventually cleared by the FA after they said he had no case to answer.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believed his side were being victimised because of their friendly image. Referees felt that it was easier to manage The Saints because they were young, friendly players. "We have been suffering all season long. It is easier to referee a Southampton side that are all young, friendly players. It is very easy to have decisions not go for us. It is a lot easier to have decisions to go against us.”

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has said he believes the officials favour the bigger clubs, “Clubs of our size always have this view of big clubs getting big shouts. My view hasn't changed. Mark Hughes said he never understood why people felt that way until he was manager of Blackburn.”

Referees should be balanced, consistent, and neutral when it comes to officiating a match. There is an underlying theme here that many managers think they are far from this. They have an extremely difficult job, but they are well paid to do it, and they should do it with the right attitude. They can't be favouring teams and players over others. Whilst it is hard to prove that, there's enough people in the game with that same opinion.

When players and managers question decisions the referees should remain calm and respond in a sensible manner rather than mocking or insulting them.

If any action is taken against James Linington then there is sure to be huge consequences following on from it, not just for him but for all referees.

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